In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij continues discussing Paul’s teaching from Colossians 1:5-8 in how the gospel makes all things new for the Christian. In Part 2, Pastor Babij explains the pattern of God’s work in spiritually growing people:
1. The Gospel Must Be Heard (v. 5)
2. The Gospel Must Be Understood (v. 6)
3. The Gospel Must Be Learned (v. 7)
Let’s take our Bible’s this morning and turn to the Epistle of Colossians. Colossians 1:5-8 this morning. Let me read verse 1-8,
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
Let’s pray. Father, this morning as we come to the word of God, we thank You that we’re able to come before You because of what Christ has done. As we come to the Word of God, we know that it is Your Word that is authoritative, it is everything we need for life and godliness. Lord, it is what You have given us on this side of eternity to learn what we need, about what You have done, what You’re doing, and what You’re going to do. Lord, not everybody knows that. Your believers, Your children know that and because they know it, they gain understanding that no one else has unless they have Christ. Lord, thank You for those things and bless us as we look in this portion of Scripture this morning. I pray in Christ’ name, amen.
Since you’ve been a Christian, if you have not realized this yet, one of the first things that happen when you become a believer is you start to love the Word of God. That is the first new thing that happens. Many new things happen in the Christian life—but that is one main new thing that happens. The true Gospel of Christ did not fit well with the well-known philosophies and the cultic practices that were going on in the time that this Epistle was written. The old idea of spirituality drastically distorted true biblical doctrine and the Christian way of life and all the sufficiency of Christ and His supremacy.
The Gospel will always remain in direct opposition to the words of false teachers. When the truth is practiced and when the truth is placed up against any error, the light of the Gospel exposes it for what it really is. What it is, is false and not true. It’s just the same old, repeated, repackaged, system of religion. That’s all it is. That’s why there are so many religions because men make it up.
Of course, those systems are inflated, and the teachers take things from all over the place and synchronize it. They include the commandments and teachings of men. They include philosophical thinking, which turns out to be bunch of mumbo-jumbo, because most of the stuff they say they can’t really understand. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a philosophy course—they’re more confusing than anything you ever study in school. And yet, that is what is usually included in false teachings.
They are also packaged with empty deceptions, and laced with idle notions of dietary rules, harsh treatment of the bodies, do’s and don’ts. All those things go in there. There’s nothing new when it comes to a religious system.
Christ living in the new body, the Church, forms a new brand-spanking-new humanity, and it transforms us and all of our old ideas about life, God, the way of salvation into something quite different. In the simple words that I have mentioned that the Gospel makes all things new. That is something you know that has happened in your life because new things come.
So far, we have discovered that our relationship to God is new, our view of self is new, our relationship with people is also new. Our entrance into the family of God, the Church, is new. Our desire to know the Word of God is new. Our understanding of future hope in heaven is new. Our desires for spiritual growth and to know more is new. This is all because the Gospel was shared with us and came into our ears and heart and we repented of our sin, believed in Christ, and we have been following Jesus ever since that day. Since that day, new things have been coming into our life. New things have been happening.
That’s why Paul is laying all that stuff out, so that believers are secure in their faith. We notice that the gospel instructs us in our new position. What is our new position? That we are saints. That we are inwardly and outwardly set apart to God. That we’re faithful brethren in Christ. That we have a new source, our Father.
In verse 2, we have a new identity that is in Christ. Those who are now associated with Christ, who are in Christ, find themselves in a new position, in a new sphere, that the false teachers and his teaching, because that was one singular false teacher, made it impossible for people to really grow. There was no reason to grow. There was no life there. It also made it possible for people to be comfortable in their old religious systems. There was no ‘new things’ going on. It was just a bunch of the old stuff remade and repackaged. That’s all it is.
Once the believer understood their new position, they began to see the change. From last time, we saw that the Gospel induces a new progression in life. That progression is a spiritual movement. A new development in one’s life, since they came to believe in Jesus Christ. That progression is seen in people’s thankfulness, where it says in verse 3,
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
This sense of gratitude has been given to us by the Spirit of God where saints are actually distinguished in their character by being thankful for all things. That includes being thankful for people from all different walks of life, different social strata and economic positions, cultures, and religions that they had in the world. Then they come together in one unified group which is called the Church, for one reason, and that is because of Jesus Christ.
The power of the Gospel is seen in how radical it is, how miraculous it is, how superior it is, and it exalts Christ, so we see who Christ really is. Once the Lord Jesus Christ gives us a new heart and eyes, we see people differently. We no longer see people through the lens of social economic, culture, or their religious standing in the world. When we met Jesus, now we see the lost with compassion as people who are helpless in darkness. They are dead in their trespasses and sin, and they need the glorious Gospel of Christ to shine in their hearts. Then, when we see genuine evidence of transforming life in a person that receives the Gospel, then there’s only one response that we have. That response is to give thanks. When we see signs of faith and love, where it says in verse 4,
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints
We’re thankful that their faith is Christ-centered. That means Christ alone, and nothing is added to Him. We’re thankful of their love that is practical, and that there is evidence of their conversion not only in word but in deed. They’re thankful and we’re thankful that their hope is secure. There is a progression of hope in verse 5,
5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel
This hope is the basis for the faith and love that someone has. This is the third of the triads of virtues that the Spirit of God works in our lives. The cause of the Apostle giving thanks, and us giving thanks, is the hope that awaits the believer in heaven. The objective hope of eternal life, of God’s presence in heaven, is the fertile soil of which faith grows.
Hope that we are given is defined as a mighty certainty. It is a hope so strong that comes from the knowledge of God. A hope here is the realization that you have been called to be a saint, a faithful Christian, and because of the offer of the Gospel to respond to God in repentance and faith. God brings His children from an empty, false, deceptive dead hope to a strong, active, living hope. The hope rests on God’s power and His promise because Jesus was raised to life, and we will live because He lives.
From verse 5, God has stored away an inheritance for us in heaven because of the hope laid up for us there. It’s set before us, it is awaiting us, and it is kept for a later unveiling for our joy, but we already have that hope by faith. However, the reality of it we will have when we are with the Lord. It is a treasure that has perfect security. No enemy or thief can reach it. It is laid up where none of the changes of life can affect it at all. The Lord knows that if we were to handle it ourselves, we would probably mess it up and lose it. It’s safe in heaven out of the reach of all that could do it violence.
That brings up to another progression which I mentioned last week. That’s the progression of life that clings to a superior source of verse number 5. It says,
Of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel.
Paul is phrasing these things to be a subtle attack against the false teaching. That’s what he is doing in Colossians. He is phrasing these things specifically. He says, you previously heart the word of truth—the gospel. So, the word of truth and the gospel are the same things. It’s not a word of a guess, or a probable inference. It’s not your own ideas or the world’s ideas. It is the infallible truth that has come to us. The word of God is truth, and it is plain. There are no hidden meanings that God is asking us to look for. It’s truth. It’s plain. There’s nothing hidden. There may be other things that are true in the world, but God’s word is the essence of all that is true. The superiority of the Gospel is seen in the whole subject and context that it is true.
Secondly, it says in verse 5, of which you previously heard that the superiority of the Gospel is seen and that it is for individuals. It says, of which you previously heard, and it has come to you. The pivotal moment that the Spirit of God illuminated our hearts to hear, to see, and to believe the truth of the Gospel. At that moment change started to happen.
Then, the superiority of the Gospel is seen in the universal outreach. In verse number 6 it says,
6 which has come to you, just as in all the world
The gospel is not just for a select little group of people, it’s for everyone. The gospel was not contained to one locale. Biblical Christianity spread rapidly throughout the known world at that time. As a matter of fact, statistic have been done on this, and they said that in the 1st and 2nd century they estimated that there were already over 500,000 converts in that part of the world, in which Paul and the Apostles were preaching. That’s a lot of people, and that increased massively in the next centuries, going into the millions.
It’s still happening today that people from all tribes, cultures, and nations are being presented the Gospel and they are coming to faith in Christ. We do know historically that all schisms and heresies are usually partial and local and that false teachers tend to be regional, but the Gospel goes to the whole world drawing all kinds of people. It’s intended for everybody, not just the educated, religious elite, or some special group with superior knowledge. The gospel is for everyone.
Notice in verse number 6, that the superiority of the Gospel is seen in its fertility. It says,
6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing
This gospel is bearing fruit in that it’s being spread, but also it is producing something in those who believed it. The introductory part of Colossians here, we see that God’s gospel takes root in people’s heart. It starts growing and producing fruit there. People set aside the old way of thinking and living to enter joyfully into a new way of thinking and living.
When the Word of God is received, real Christians bear fruit. All kinds of fruit. Holiness, godliness, Christian character, good works, giving, thinking about and praising God like they never have before, singing from their heart, sinning less, persevering in their Christian walk no matter what happens in their life.
This also includes growing in personal and congregational disciplines. Meaning some disciplines are practiced in isolation like our own personal prayer time and Bible reading and study, but others are practiced in community. Both of these things are given by God, and they need to work with each other not against each other. You can’t leave one or the other out and think you’re going to grow in the way you ought to grow. God works through each of these disciplines in a very unique way for His children to be able to experience Him and change us into Christlikeness. That’s why they’re there.
The disciple of Jesus is a person who is being continually conformed the image of the Master. He or she is a person who is constantly changing, growing, and knowing. They know that they have not yet arrived, but they’re continually striving for the goal set before us by the Master. The Gospel actually presents to us reality. If you want to know reality, you become a Christian, then you see things clearly the way they actually are. You also know where you’re going. There’s a new path that you have.
This next thing is not only that the Gospel instructs us as to who we are, but it induces a progression in our life, a forward movement. Thirdly, this morning, the Gospel irradiates a pathway for life. Notice in the middle of verse 6, it says
even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth
That means the day you actually heard the effectual call of the Gospel, it started doing something in you that same day. Now there’s always a pattern in which God uses to grow us. Part of that pattern is actually quite simple. The first part of the pattern is this, if you notice again in verse number 6, it says,
even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it
In other words, the Gospel must be heard. One must clearly hear the Gospel before one can embrace it in faith. Romans 10:14 tells us,
14 How then will they call on Him in who they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
It goes on to say in verse 17,
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
I don’t think we often think about how much and how important it is for us to actually hear things. There’s a crisis that is getting worse and worse in our land. It is the crisis of hearing. Because we live in a multi-media entertainment saturated culture where television and other media sources have helped to create a society of watchers and not listeners. People who are fascinated by pictures and soundbites, not educated by words.
You know what’s amazing? That the Lord gave us the Bible in words. He didn’t give us a video, a DVD, a cassette tape. He gave us printed words. There is something about printed words that is powerful, that is embedded in your mind when you hear it correctly, and you take it to heart. Of course, this is not a new crisis with fallen humanity. Matter of history, the first step toward man’s fall was taken when Eve substituted what she saw. What did she see? The tree was pleasant to the site, it says in Genesis 2:9, for what she heard from God, you shall not eat from it, she reversed this to first seeing and then hearing. This plundered the whole human race into sin.
When the Son of God was on earth, His most important ministry was the proclamation of the word of God, not performing miracles. He was saying, he who has ears let him hear. To be sure, miracles were important as evidence of His Messiahship and proof of his great compassion for the needy but declaring the Word of God so people would hear it was His first priority. Unfortunately, the crowds want to see, they don’t want to hear. Even today people are looking for miracles and they’re not reading it to hear what the word of God says.
How well do you think you are ready to hear spiritual truth? In scripture, you will find that there is a spiritual connection between the heart and the ear. The parable of the sower that we read this morning gives great evidence of that. Ask yourselves, are you always prepared to listen when you come to church to a worship service? Is your Bible open, ready? Even having pen and pad ready or your iPad ready to make notes? Are you all-ears, always ready to add to what you already know, so that you can put all the spiritual truths into practice? Does this describe you? I hope that is at least your goal. I hope that is the direction of your life.
The first thing in the pattern that he lays out here in scripture is that the Gospel must be heard. Secondly, hearing is not enough. It’s not sufficient by itself. The Gospel must have hearing accompanied by Spirit-enabled listening. The Spirit of God is the necessary person and condition that we all need to understand the Word of God. The second pattern of this growth after hearing is the pattern of the Gospel being understood.
Notice what it says again in verse 6,
6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth
False teachers claim a corner on higher spiritual knowledge, but much of what they teach is really hard to understand, only the teachers really know what is being taught. Unless someone has some special higher knowledge, or in modern day vernacular, unless somebody is woke. That you really don’t understand, only a few understand, and a few see.
If you notice in Colossians 2:4, the Bible says,
4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
A persuasive argument could be very convincing, especially if somebody is very skilled in communication, but when the truth is understood, the arguments will prove to be false. Actually, the term ‘understood’ here means spiritual knowledge received through revelation. It can be fully known that Paul’s use of the strong word is showing that false teachers really have nothing to offer true believers. Notice here what they are actually understanding. It says, they’re understanding the grace of God in truth. Where does that come from? John 1:14 says,
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Then in John 1:17,
17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
Then we go to Galatians 1:6 and what does Paul rebuke the people of? He says,
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.
Jesus brought the reality of grace to us. That you cannot save yourself. No one can save you. Only Jesus can save you. In saving you, it’s free. It’s free.
The first point is that the Gospel is concerning the Son of God. This is the nerve and the heart and the very centrality of the Gospel, that Jesus Himself is the good news. Take away the person and there is no good news. There is no message at all. There is absolutely nothing if you take away Christ. Other false teachings and religions, if you can take away the main person, you still have the system. This is not so in Christianity; if you take away Christ there is nothing.
Christian people in this modern-media-age with so much loose thinking, even non-thinking people, are basically seeking entertainment. They don’t want to be challenged to think. Think for understanding. Actually, many people today dislike definitions of precision. We should think clear about this truth and should be ready to contend with it and even fight for it because if we forsake it then we have no Christianity at all without Jesus Christ.
Paul is really going to go on in the rest of this chapter later to give us a picture of Christ that is found nowhere else in scripture. He lifts Christ up to the highest place and gives Him the superior place that He ought to have and the Church ought to keep Him there. If a person denies Jesus came in the flesh, they are a deceiver and an anti-Christ. That is what the Word of God tells us. By the very resurrection of Jesus Christ, it enables us to see Jesus as He really is and for what He is. That is God in the flesh.
Without Jesus, there is no good news. There is no hope for everlasting life. There is no freedom from the slavery of sin. People can only take hold of the Gospel through Jesus Christ. By receiving God’s gracious gift of salvation, and it is a gift that is secured through His Son and by obeying Jesus through faith, is what we must understand and what they were understanding. Once they understood that, they didn’t want to let go of it. You can’t work for a gift or it’s no longer a gift. You have to receive it. Without doing anything, receiving it and believing it is what the Gospel is, and that is what they were understanding.
What were the false teachers doing? You have to do this, this, and this to be right with God. Paul is saying no, you don’t have to do that. What you have to do is understand the grace of God. Grace means that God is giving you what you do not deserve. What do we deserve? We deserve God’s wrath and punishment for sin. We don’t really deserve anything, but here it says that He has given us what we don’t deserve, and what is that? That is His forgiveness based on Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice. You add nothing to it, and nothing can be added to it.
Do you know what that means? That in Christ we already have full knowledge. Look at Colossians 2:2-3. It says this,
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
That Christians have received a knowledge that is full, deep, complete, and the Gospel reveals the knowledge about the deepest things of God. Without it, man would know nothing. Without God’s revelation, man would know nothing. In fact, in chapter one you will find that Paul and Epaphras, the pastor of this church, is going to pray for the people. This is a prayer we ought to pray for each other. Notice in Colossians 1:9-10,
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
And for what reason? Verse 10,
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
The Gospel must not only be heard, but the Gospel must be understood. If it’s not understood, it cannot bear fruit. It must be understood to bear fruit. Why? Somebody who has understanding of the Gospel means that I must be looking for fruit and you must be looking for fruit. I also have this desire now to want to continue to grow in that understanding.
The Word of God is brought to us so we hear it then we get an understanding, without the Spirit of God we will not get that understanding, and then where does it lead us to? It leads us to continue to learn. Look at Colossians 1:7, the Gospel must not only be heard and understood, but it must be learned. It says this in verse 7,
7 Just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,
We see here that Paul is saying, listen, you learned it from your pastor. Unlike the false teachers, the Lord has given many faithful teachers to the church. You know what’s interesting when you’re reading through the book of Colossians? Paul mentions around 12 people in this small epistle. Why do you think he does that? Because it’s not about one teacher, it’s about many teachers, and many teachers who have many gifts. He talks about Timothy, Epaphras, Tychicus, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Luke, Demas, Archippus, and then he mentions a woman who has a church in her house. He is saying, listen there are many people who are bearing fruit in different ways because the Gospel is alive, and it has changed people from all cultures, and brought them all together. God is using them to build up the Church, that’s what He is doing.
The next Epistle that is very similar to Colossians is Ephesians. In Ephesians it says the same thing. What does it say? It says that God gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). For what reason? For the equipping of the saints for the work of service for the building up of the body of Christ. For what? And where does that lead us? To a mature group of people. They’re no longer children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by the craftiness of deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14).
You know who is behind all of that false religion and deceitful scheming? Satan is because Satan doesn’t want you, once you come to Christ, to know any more than you know. He wants you to go to your other things and to be interested in all of these other good things, but don’t learn more, because then you become a threat to his kingdom. Part of the responsibility of the local church is to go into the kingdom of darkness and to take people out of his kingdom with the Gospel of light, Jesus Christ.
If you look at Colossians 1:23, it says this,
23 If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
Same thing he is saying here. Don’t move away from the gospel! Keep growing in the Gospel. Keep hearing the Gospel. Keep gaining understanding, so that you would become strong that nobody could sway you as to whether this is true or not. The people say, well I don’t believe the Bible is true or I don’t believe that’s the only way, there’s many ways to God. You have to be firm in your faith to say, no that’s not truth, truth is that Jesus is the only way and there is no other way. You are so firm that nobody could move you from that position.
This guy, Epaphras, you don’t hear much about him as this is the first time he’s mentioned here in Scripture. He was a pastor-teacher, and notice what was said about him, he was a beloved bond-servant and faithful servant of Christ. This disciple was so committed to Christ that he’s called a servant. Of course, the word servant here is Doulos, which is slave. He is literally a slave of Christ. The condition of a disciple is faith in Christ and obedience to His commands. A disciple obeys His words because of their commitment to Jesus personally, and renounces all of the material comforts which may hinder their allegiance to Him. Where Jesus said in Matthew 10:37,
37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
That means that this disciple, Epaphras, has bonded himself willingly to the Master-Teacher for a lifetime relationship. Christ has taken possession of him and owns him body and soul. That should be the same for us. That Jesus always remains Lord of all of His disciples. As time progresses, the disciple becomes more conformed to the image of Christ that they are now totally identified with Him that nobody could move them.
You know that in the New Testament epistles, the disciples became known as the Christ ones. We call it Christian today. A real Christian is a disciple, and a disciple is a real Christian, and a disciple is a learner—somebody who wants to know.
Fulfilling ones call to discipleship is the goal of the Christian. Wherein a degenerate person who has corrupted the image of God is now restored to that image by the miracle of regeneration which transforms the person into a Christian. One who is like Christ. The degenerate becomes the disciple and bears the image of his Master to the world.
Epaphras not only taught his disciples a systematic instruction of the Gospel, but he also continued to pray for their spiritual growth and maturity as addressed in Colossians 4:12, where it says,
12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.
That is the prayer for us. That we would hear. That we would understand. That we would constantly be a learner. We never stop being a learner in the Church of God.
They learned the Gospel from their pastor and the Spirit of God, of course, produced the results. What was the results? The results are that he said, Epaphras also informed me of your love in the Spirit. You know what that says? That the Word of God is understood and is bearing fruit. Your love in the Spirit is that you love people that you didn’t love people. That you love Christ whom you didn’t love before. That you love the Word of God which you didn’t love before. You love those things.
The Gospel makes all things new, but it must be heard, and it must be understood, and it must be taught until you and I stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. That’s what the Gospel does for us.
I want to just mention this, we ought to be hearing the truth and not be careless about our intake of spiritual meat but use discernment. The word of God says in 1 John 4:1,
1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Growing in this discernment. According to the proverb in the gospel of Mark and Luke, that we read, it says there,
Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.
Here the means of measuring was hearing. This means that evaluating whether you have good hearing or inadequate hearing. This can be really practically illustrated as the result of the preaching of the word of God. Those who have no interest in the Word of God find it uninteresting and those who desire to find fault find many faults in the Word of God. Those who seek solid truth find it and learn it. Those who hunger search for food, and they also find nourishment. Those who bring faith receive assurance. Those who come joyfully are made glad. But no person finds blessing by hearing error nor by careless, forgetful hearing of truth.
There is a promise that the Lord gives us in Mark 4 that whoever has, to him more shall be given. That is talking about hearing properly. Whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Superficial hearing is always bad. How people treat the instruction of Jesus is very important. Jesus wants the disciples to bring a full measure of attention, an eagerness to learn, and if so, God will return to them an even fuller measure of the precious saving truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is always expanding and growing and we’re understanding more and more things about it.
The measure you give in your hearing is the measure you get. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you, but God will give even more to those who hear properly. He will give more desire to hear. He will give more understanding in what you hear. We will be convinced more of what we hear when we hear it. We will have more personal possession of blessings from what we hear. We will delight of hearing that old, old message of the glorious Gospel, and more of the practical benefits from what we hear.
God gives more to those who value what they have, so we ought to hear. It is the wisdom that comes to us from God. We have to hear well. God’s teaching deserves our deepest attention, and we ought to hear often. We should waste no Lord’s Day nor really any of the teachings that happen in the church, we should not be absent from them. We ought to hear better, that you will grow less worldly and more holy and more joy-filled and more faithful when you are a faithful hearer.
That’s where it starts. It always starts in hearing and then it leads to understanding and it leads to more learning. That’s going to be the life of a Christian. When you do that, you will find that the blessing of God comes our way, and that we actually do mature, and understand, and do now live out our faith. We discover mostly that everything is new for a Christian. Everything is new.
What are some things from this section that we could learn? I think one of the things is that gratitude, being thankful, intensifies our soul-sense of dependance on God. Everything we’re thankful for comes from God Himself. Also, we should thank God for others. More on account of their spiritual than their temporal welfare. Thank you Lord that You saved this person. Thank you Lord that You’re growing this person. It’s exciting to see growth in a person, isn’t it? It’s exciting to see that.
Also, the essential character of faith, love, and hope should be strengthened and increased with exercise. You have to exercise. We need to be casting as much Gospel seed to all kinds of people, whoever they are, and we should never be hindered by casting that seed to people who are so different from us that we stay away from them. No, we should cast the seed, while keeping in mind that throughout church history there has been a vast amount of preaching, but the result has always been the same. Some people believe and their heart is penetrated with the seed of the Gospel, they bear fruit, they grow, and they become part of the Church, but some do not. When the Gospel goes out it’s going out for salvation or judgment.
This morning, just look at your own life and ask honestly to yourself, are you prepared to listen every time the Word of God is opened and you’re reading? Even when you’re reading your daily Bible. Are you falling asleep? Do you know after you read it, what you read? Those are the things that you know you’re becoming more disciplined and you’re listening less to your flesh. You’re ready in your mind, if you have to get up early, to be able to remove the distractions so that you can read, think, and meditate on the Word of God. That’s what you ought to do.
Sometimes we have good intentions to do those things, but we don’t do them. The flesh wins out. Then, because of that, we’re not ready. Our ears are not ready to receive truth. Our heart cannot receive it or understand it because we haven’t heard it right. Then we don’t practice it. Then what happens is that we don’t feel like anything’s happened in our life and all of the newness falls away because we’re not doing the simplest things that God has given us to grow us. Ears to hear, let him hear.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You again for these simple truths, but ones that we always need to hear over and over again. Lord, make us people that really are attentive to the Word of God. Lord, as the Spirit of God is living in us, I pray the Spirit of God would give us understanding of the Word which will excite our mind and our heart and our thoughts so we can meditate upon it. Then Lord, that we would look at ourselves and say, now where can I serve? Where can I bear fruit? As the Spirit of God is working in us. I pray, Lord, that the process of hearing, understanding, and learning would never stop, and that we would always be ready and excited about the Word of God to be able to turn around and tell it to someone else. Lord, please do that and make us those kinds of people. I pray in Christ’ name, amen.